Case Studies

Yerkes Observatory

Location: 373 West Geneva Street, Williams Bay, WI

Service Category: Abatement

Project Manager: Richard Heyer

Field Manager: Kevin Leahy

Project Summary

In order to build what is now referred to by many as “the birthplace of modern astrophysics,” George Ellery Hale needed a prominent businessman to fund his dream. Hale chose Charles T. Yerkes, a man who made his fortune financing Chicago’s electric railway system. When it opened in 1897, Yerkes Observatory, a Chicago University Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics facility, housed a 40-inch diameter doublet lens refracting telescope. This telescope remains the largest refracting telescope ever successfully used for astronomy. The sprawling 77 acre property is situated on the beautiful Geneva Lake. Its faculty and advanced equipment contribute to the education of visitors from around the country.

A power house on the property had been vacated for a long period of time and had become a liability to the observatory. Balestrieri was contracted to perform an inspection on the building, abate the asbestos found, and remove all universal hazardous waste materials so that the building could be demolished.

Services Provided by Balestrieri

  • Asbestos Abatement
  • Universal Hazardous Waste Removal
  • Preliminary Inspection


The challenge of this project was maintaining the safety of our workers. The power house was in a very poor condition. The building had been vacant for so long, it had deteriorated to an unsafe structure.


Through meticulous work, our expertly trained team was able to successfully clean up the facility. Without disrupting the learning environment, BE&D removed the hazardous waste so that the area surrounding the observatory would be safe once again and the power house could be safely demolished.

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Yerkes Observatory, Balestrieri Environmental ProjectYerkes Observatory, Balestrieri Environmental Project case study

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